Our stop on the Never-ending Blog Tour this week is Ashe Barkers’ latest book, Dark Melodies!!
Who knows where pain ends, and pleasure begins?
The chance of a new life out in the wilds of the Yorkshire moors sounds too good to be true to shy musician Eva Byrne. Stifled and smothered within the cocoon of her brilliant academic career, Eva yearns for something different. Something real and exciting. Something she can feel.
Excitement. Passion. Pleasure. She finds that sexy, enigmatic Nathan Darke can provide all these and more when she moves into his home as violin tutor to his young daughter. But Eva’s sensual encounters with her demanding, domineering new employer quickly evoke her deepest fears, as he introduces her to the trauma of submission and marks her with his particularly dark brand of love.
But will Eva’s natural curiosity and thirst for new experiences be enough to withstand the sting of Nathan Darke’s exquisite touch? Will simple surrender be enough as he challenges her every inhibition, taking her on an erotic journey of self-discovery and liberation?
This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers.
This novel was previously released as three separate books, Darkening, Darker and Darkest, in the series The Dark Side.
In this volume the three books in The Dark Side trilogy are published as one combined novel, under a new title, Dark Melodies with new cover art, no cliffhangers and a HEA.
Here is a steamy excerpt from the book:
“God, is it really that late?” I gasp.
“Yes. Time for your practical,” Mr. Darke says softly, leaning back in his chair. Stretching out his foot, he pushes my violin case toward me across the kitchen floor. “You promised me a demonstration of your…skills. By way of a job interview. Then we’ll decide if you’re a music teacher or not.”
Tired as I am, I know I can handle this. This is my moment. Without a word, I kneel by the violin case and carefully open the lid, then extract the instrument from among the folds of my chiffon skirt. Unclipping the bow from the lid of the case, I stand up. I draw the bow experimentally along the strings, just to hear the tone and make any minor tuning adjustments. I have a good ear, and with only minute twists of the keys on the neck of the violin it is perfect, ready to play.
“Any requests?” I ask.
“No, you choose.” He is still seated at the table, waiting. And apparently not expecting much.
Mrs. Richardson has been bustling around the sink, clearing up after our meal, but she also comes to sit back down, drying her hands. Even Barney has opened one of his eyes. All three settle themselves, watching me.
Stepping slightly farther back, away from the table, I stand facing my audience with the door open behind me. I place the violin under my chin, resting my face against it like a favorite pillow, and draw in one long breath. I let it out slowly, and again. My feet are planted firmly, about a foot apart. I am relaxed, grounded. In my element. Now, at least, this I am good at.
Leaning into the violin and closing my eyes, I start one of my favorite melodies, not really written for violin—but I think it works beautifully and I love it. The opening, evocative strains of Ravel’s ‘Boléro’ fill the room. I don’t need to look up or hear his sharp intake of breath as he recognizes the piece, to know that Mr. Darke is stunned. He didn’t expect this from me. I am glowing inside because I know, at last, I have him.
I hear a slight noise behind me and open my eyes to see Mr. Darke leaning slightly to see around me. Placing his index finger vertically across his mouth, he signals for quiet, then beckons with his hand. A little shadow slips around and past me.
A small girl—impossibly pretty, with long, straight dark hair—runs across the room, climbs onto his knee and puts her little arms around his neck. She looks sleepy and is wearing a long, pale pink nightie. Her feet are bare. He hugs her, whispers something in her ear that makes her smile, and he kisses her hair. Then they both turn back to me, silent, watching, listening intently as I continue to play.
Completely in my element, absolutely in control of my audience, the music, the instrument, I sway gently as I slowly, surely develop the piece. I build the melody, pouring my own energy into it, louder, faster, ever more compelling as my bow flies back and forth across the resin-heavy horsehair strings. Unerring, every note perfect, I feel the familiar pull of the evocative music and lose myself in it, completely alert but at the same time only dimly aware of my surroundings, my audience. I coax the music toward its crashing crescendo. I am so exhilarated, so pumped up I feel sure I can fly in that moment, but as the final note dies away I am also aware of feeling drained, as if my last dregs of energy were poured into that piece.
No one moves. No one speaks. In the silence that follows, I straighten and stand before them, violin in my left hand and bow in my right, both now pointed down at the floor. Raising my eyes, I meet Mr. Darke’s gaze.
His face is still, expressionless, but his beautiful dark brown eyes are warm, admiring, the passion of the piece not lost on him. I feel a clenching low down in my belly, glad that I have somehow affected him, touched him. We stare across the kitchen at each other for long moments before he finally comes to his feet, holding the little girl in his arms.
“Bravo, Miss Byrne,” he says softly, bowing his head to me. “That was superb.”
About the Author
USA Today Bestselling author Ashe Barker writes erotic romance and spanking romance in a variety of genres including contemporary, BDSM, paranormal, historical. ménage, gay romance and time travel. She is a #1 Amazon Bestseller and all her stories feature hot alpha males and sassy submissives, often with a lot to learn. Kink abounds, and there’s enough dirty talk to satisfy the most demanding smut lover. However dark and dirty the setting, love always emerges triumphant, and her stories never fail to deliver a satisfying happy ever after.